This is a recycled post as my in-laws are in town and I’ve been trying to study in the afternoons. However, I feel the content of this post is still relevant. If y’all have any suggestions or want to tell me how you feel full, please comment. I’d love to hear from you!
When you announce that you’re going go vegan or go on a plant-based diet, you might get some very strong reactions. Your Momma might cry or you’ll get some comments saying something along the lines like “God made animals to be eaten.” Or like me, “how do you manage to be vegan in Alberta (cattle country)?” My answer: it’s very simple to be vegan once you see and understand all the different foods you can have and how healthy you’ll feel and be!
No doubt when you first go on a plant-based diet, you’ll get the question: “but where will your protein come from?” and “will you eat salads all the time?” Society nowadays is obsessed with protein – that’s my inside voice coming out. Yes, you will eat salads but they’ll leave you feeling full. You won’t go hungry 30 minutes later, they won’t be loaded down with cheese (unless you want vegan cheese), bacon bits, croutons (unless you want to), or with an unhealthy dressing. And yes, your protein will come from plants and not meat. You’ll still get your protein, you’ll feel full, and the protein source will be from a healthy one.
This is an example of what my daily meal looks like. I won’t include dinner because that usually varies. However, our dinners do have beans and other sources of protein. Sometimes I’ll have leftovers for lunch too:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon and honey and my much-needed human juice (coffee).
Lunch: salad with quinoa, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, salt and pepper and a splash of lemon juice with olive oil.
In 1 cup of cooked oatmeal, there’s 6 grams of protein. I usually have half a cup but that works for me. I find that I’m satisfied until lunch. My lunch, on the other hand, is SUPER packed with protein. The quinoa, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts are all packed with it. Whenever I have this salad I’m satisfied all the way until dinner.
The key with salads is to add protein and not just have leafy greens. That’s where most people go wrong. They don’t add protein, or just dump a bunch of unhealthy stuff on it, and end up being hungry after they’ve had it. You can’t just have the leafy greens and salad dressing (which can be super unhealthy itself). If you can, you should try a healthier alternative to the store-bought dressings. You can make a simple dressing with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or try lemon juice with olive oil. There are PLENTY of recipes online and Pintrest.
If you follow a good plant-based/vegan diet, then you’ll more than likely have no problems meeting your protein needs. However, for those of us who are interested in going vegan, are newly vegan, or just want to learn more, to find out how much protein you need you’ll have to multiply your weight be 0.4 to find out the grams you need. (Vegan For Her: The Woman’s Guide To Being Healthy And Fit On A Plant-Based Diet). Take me for example. I weight 136lbs, so if I want to find out how many grams of protein I need, I’ll need to do the following math:
136 x 0.4 = 54.4 grams
That seems pretty simple, right? By the time I have lunch, I think my protein needs are half way there for the day.
So, here’s a question: where does a vegan get protein? It’s surprisingly easy to get your protein needs met when you know where to get it:
- Peanut Butter
- Any soy product like tempeh and tofu
- Plant/nut milks: soy milk has a higher protein content compared to almond milk.
- Beans! They’re loaded with protein, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
- Tahini: It’s a nut butter made from sesame seeds.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, etc.
There are so many places you can get protein and have a delicious meal. After you’ve learned how easy it is to get your protein, you won’t be so concerned about it and it’ll become second nature. You won’t even have to think about it, and you’ll find that you’ll automatically start to add protein-rich foods in your diet/recipes.
There are so many resources out there as well. However, you have to be careful of which sites you look at. Make sure they’re reputable ones. There are different formulas for finding the optimal amount of daily intake for protein. Find which one works for you or consult your physician. Here are a few good sources that I can think of off the top of my head for you:
- PETA: They have LOTS of information for you
- One Green Planet
- The Vegetarian Resource Group
- Vegan Health
Please keep in mind that I’m not a nutritionist (although I’m studying to be a holistic nutritionist) nor am I a doctor. I’m a person sharing her experiences with being vegan. I’m also trying to pass along the knowledge that I’ve learned and hope I can help someone.
In closing, if you’d like an interesting read about the plant-based diet, please check out The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study Of Nutrition Ever Conducted And The Startling Implications For Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-Term Health.
Y’all enjoy your Thursday afternoon!!