Sierra Weight Loss

This High-Protein Recipe Helped Me Lose 30 Pounds

I treated my internship at EatingWell as a buffet. While the talented crew in the test kitchen created healthy recipes all day, I would bide my time until lunch and then take full advantage of the spoils. I gained my own version of a freshman 15 during Christmas-cookie testing season. But one unexpected recipe won my long-term affection.

I say “unexpected” because I am a lifelong meat obsessive. Just Google me and you’ll see the pictures with a pig’s head. I would never have imagined that a tofu recipe would become one of my standbys. I have to thank former EatingWell Test Kitchen Manager Stacy Fraser for being the one to convince me that soy protein could be the centerpiece of a meal. The recipe was part of a story about packing bento box lunches. I still have a soy-sauce-stained printout of the original magazine page that also featured short-grain brown rice balls, strawberries and orange wedges.

But the Soy-Lime Roasted Tofu was the star, both in spite of and because of its simplicity. With just four ingredients, there are few dishes in my arsenal easier to make—just cut up extra-firm tofu and marinate it in soy sauce, lime juice and toasted sesame oil for a few hours. Roasted at 450°F for 20 minutes, the cubes emerge from the oven crisp at the edges, silky inside and flavored with a masterful balance of salt, umami and acid. I’ve been known to add a bit of gochujang for a kick of sweet heat, but truly, the original recipe is iconic without it.

I left that internship for a job as a food writer and critic. I was young and still relatively slim despite the cookie testing. I gained 10 pounds a year my first five years on the job. At just 5 feet tall, 50 pounds was more than half my starting weight. Well-meaning friends said I looked voluptuous. But I felt exhausted.

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