Not Just Tofu

Farmer’s Market Challenge:14-day diet jumpstart

In Diet, Editorial, Food on July 15, 2015 at 8:52 pm
Me 2015

Me 2015

Many of you have a “mommy body” which means that you are a bit thick in the middle and flabby everywhere else.  Trust me, I am not body shaming anyone because that is how I describe my body type.  Before having my beautiful boys, I was more of a boy shape which means I lacked curves but I was solid and healthy.  After having the boys, I am a full Rome apple meaning that I am very very round in the middle. There is a 50 pound difference in how much I used to weigh before and now.  Frustrated is the most accurate word that describes how I feel about my body.

Me while dating Alvin

Me while dating Alvin

Since being diagnosed with Lupus, I have been struggling with losing weight.  I may lose 5-10 pounds but it never stays off. Taking various medications over the last few years have not helped with my weight loss either.  For many of the medications prescribed, the side effect it weight gain. Only one of them had a weight loss side effect but believe me, it is no Dexetrim.  Do you remember Dexetrim? The Lupus has also made me afraid to exercise.  I was one of those people who became a member of one of the “$10 a month” gyms. In the beginning, I went with high enthusiasm because I thought it would get me skinny.  Instead I felt underwhelmed with 30 minute workouts because I didn’t lose any weight.  So what did I do?  I pushed to 45 minutes, sometimes an hour workout and I would do this 3-4 times a week.  This is totally not healthy for someone with active Lupus.  I ended up flaring more than once that year so I gave it up.  Then a girlfriend asked me to walk with her 3 times a week for 30 minutes.  I loved it because I wasn’t alone so I felt I had to do it.  What happened next? I flared again and this one hurt a lot and for whole lot longer than the ones before.  It’s been almost 2 years and I have been afraid to exercise ever since.

2014 when I lost 10lbs...I think

2014 when I lost 10lbs…I think

I feel a need for a challenge.  I have been watching infomercial after infomercial about 21-day challenge, Daniel challenge, 21-day fix but I know I can’t commit to that. Here in NJ we have outdoor farmer’s markets that come in town once a week, but they are limited on what they provide. The other farmer’s market are indoor and sell fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, dairy and fresh bread.  I propose starting on Sunday with a new diet that I am calling the Farmer’s Market Diet.  For the next 2 weeks, we will eat food that can only be purchased in your farmer’s market.  How is this a diet, for the most part there are no mass produced orhighly processed food; everything is fresh, simple and if you’re lucky organic.  So no chips, no meat, no doughnuts, no coffee (for many of you that is going be major). The next step is to an add raw apple cider vinegar mixture to your morning routine.  This step will help curb your appetite and cleanse your palette.  Lastly, you must drink at least eight 8oz glasses of water that may include a squeeze of lime or lemon which will keep you hydrated. If you can, please try to do some type of physical activity at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes to jump start your metabolism. This is a real challenge.

a few pounds lighter in 2013

teaching NJT a few pounds lighter in 2013

Why are we doing this? I don’t want us to be an apple. I don’t want us to increase our chances for heart disease. I don’t want us to miss out on life because we don’t feel good about ourselves.  We will lose a few pounds by not eating processed foods. We will jump start a new lifestyle that will help our skin, our hair and our life overall.  Are you on board? Sign up on Twitter, Not Just Tofu Facebook page or in comments on the blog- http://www.notjusttofu.com.  Come on people, I need a support team; I can’t do this alone.  Three days and counting…

May never be this skinny again, but I'm proud

May never be this skinny again, but I’m proud

Where I’ve been: NYC Foodie Adventure

In Editorial, Event, Food, Local Eats, New York on July 14, 2015 at 4:23 am

I always think I haven’t been up to much, especially because I’ve been sick, but then I look at the pictures.  The pictures say that I have met a celebrity chef at a food festival.  It also looks like I’ve been to a local foodie hot spot, Chelsea Market. So I guess while I wasn’t blogging, I was out exploring the world around me with hopes of being able to write about it.  So let me walk you through it as best I remember it.

Young Love

Young Love

Alvin and I celebrated our 13th year of marriage this past May.  When Alvin and I dated we connected over food.  He being new to the country, he didn’t know a lot about international cuisine.  I remember one of his infamous lines “I don’t eat what I don’t know.”  The foodie in me just couldn’t accept this so almost every date involved eating somewhere new. Thirteen years later, he loves to eat international food.  His favorite thus far has got to be hummus and grape leaves.  So I planned for us to celebrate over a new food experience.  We got in my car and headed to NYC to go to an outdoor farmer’s market, a food festival and a vegan restaurant. Unfortunately, my plan went a whole new way.

Me and Chef Marcus Samuelson

Me and Chef Marcus Samuelson

Waking up earlish is not early enough if you want to get parking so that you can visit and outdoor farmer’s market in the city.  We must of drove in circles for 20 minutes trying to find public parking with no luck.  That being said, we moved on to the food festival, Harlem Eats 2015.  Not wanting to pay for admission, it limited what we could do but what would be the point of paying for food that most likely you wouldn’t eat because Alvin is vegetarian? Trying to make light of the event, I went around and took pictures. The highlight of the day was meeting Marcus Samuelson.  I have always wanted to meet a celebrity chef; surprising to me how nervous I was to approach him for a photo.  It was hot, a lot of people were trying to take a picture and he looked like he had been doing it for a good minute.  With Alvin’s encouragement, I asked for a photo and Alvin took the picture below.  My only regret is that I wasn’t smiling.

WP_20150517_14_17_45_ProAfter that, I guess we were ready to do something else but what? Then it dawned on me, let’s go to Chelsea Market.  When we arrived at Chelsea Market, I was giddy like a small child going to Disney World.  I couldn’t believe that I had finally made it. I loved it; the market was prettier and busier than I expected it to be.  I love the smell of all the different foods.  Alvin wasn’t as excited but I knew it would come when we got to the cheese shop.  Cheese is to Alvin what pork is to barbecue.  Lucy’s Whey was a wonderful place!  We found some wonderful goat cheese, we bought $25 worth.  I got excited when we got to the Spices and Tease spice shop.  So many spices, such rich aromas, they even have tea.  We spent $35 on 4 bags of spices.  Side note – the spices are such good quality that we want to go back.  Lastly we arrived at an Buon Italia, an Italian market, where we bought vinegar, more cheese, French lentils, who know what else because that was almost $60.  We walked, we nibbled on free samples and finally stopped at Amy’s bread, a bakery where we bought a loaf of bread and rice pudding.  I don’t think we liked the bread as much as everything else we bought but it’s OK.

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

I thought I could talk about my other adventures in this article but I’ve been a bit wordy already.  Honestly writing about that day has made me think more about writing.  I really did have fun that day.  We finished the day by crossing back over the bridge and ordering another $40 bucks worth of Greek food from It’s Greek to me and yes Alvin order hummus and grape leaves. It was a costly day for folks on a budget, but we don’t regret not one minute.  In fact, we are planning to go back and try the stuff we didn’t get a chance to eat.

It Hasn’t Been Easy

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2015 at 4:49 pm

InstagramCapture_cdce5c7a-38fa-4107-8e59-ecacfeb4ea2fI have been struggling for a while about blogging. I didn’t know if I was passionate about writing anymore. For the last five years, I have wracking my brain on how to take Not Just Tofu to the next level.  I am boggled by the amount of recipes and post other food bloggers could post in a week; it made me feel that I was inadequate. I lost my confidence as a blogger.

On my hiatus, I met chefs, tried new restaurants and dabbled with ingredients; it still wasn’t enough to sway me to start writing again. Due to my Lupus, I can never pursue my dream of working in a restaurant or caterer.  First I gave up on my dream of having a brick and mortar establishment.  Then I gave up on my dream of owning a food truck. It got me thinking – Am I going to give up on sharing what I know about food?  Once again, my husband gave me a pep talk, a faithful supporter gave me a supportive call and God started buzzing in my ear saying “don’t give up.”

So today, I have made a decision not to give up on myself.  I could compare myself to bloggers who take delicious and beautiful pictures. I could try to be a social media guru updating you about every bite I eat.  I could get in my kitchen everyday and whip up recipe after recipe.  The truth is that I am none of the above.  Instead I am taking a more natural creative process with the hope that I will have take better pictures, improve with social media and trying to produce more recipes and articles.

Until then, I am happy with the 25 WordPress followers and those who are following me on Twitter, Facebook,Tumblr and Instagram.  Side note: I really gotta work on my social media skills.  I just want thank you for being loyal and patient.

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