Sunday, November 9, 2014

Top Protein Sources for Vegans/Vegetarians

I have been going back and forth about going vegan for about two years now. The only thing really holding me back is those oxtails during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and my weekly meals of salmon and tilapia.  I find chicken and turkey nauseated some days at this point, and I already do not partake in any swine or steak dinners (I've actually never tasted pork before).   Right now I eat salmon or whiting about 3 times a week, and I know it would be tough for me to go without it.  

I'm still doing my research but in the meantime I'm mainly eating fish, occasionally a chicken wing or two, and the rest of the days I am eating meatless meals.   

My two main concerns:  

Will I lose a lot of weight?

Will I be able to maintain a well-balanced diet without any meat?

My mother is a vegan, and has been for a few years now, so I know it can be done.  If I know exactly how to cook and prepare delicious, filling vegan meals I won't be as tempted to eat chicken wings or fish every now and then. And I guess if I learn how to eat enough I won't start looking like Olive Oyl-- at least that's what I'm praying for!

I came across this article from Natural News that was very informative.  Call me slow but, I had no idea that veggies had protein! It does make sense though.  Interested in learning what to eat in a healthy vegan lifestyle or just looking to incorporate healthier options into your current diet?  

1. Vegetables - the proper foundation for all diets.
• 1 avocado - 10 grams
• 1 cup broccoli - 5 grams
• 1 cup spinach - 5 grams
• 2 cups cooked kale - 5 grams
• 1 cup boiled peas - 9 grams
• 1 cup cooked sweet potato - 5 grams

2. Legumes, also vegetables, get their own mention. Specifically lentils and beans, the foundation of many diets for centuries.
• 1 cup soybeans - 28 grams (1 cup tofu - 22 grams, 1 cup tempeh - 30 grams)
• 1 cup lentils - 18 grams
• 1 cup refried beans - 15.5 grams
• 1 cup garbanzo beans (and hummus) - 14.5 grams
• 1 cup pinto, kidney, black beans - 13-15 grams
• 1 oz peanuts - 6.5 grams

3. Nuts and seeds - a staple in most vegetarian and vegan diets.
• 1 oz. cashews - 4.4 grams
• 1 oz. sesame seeds 6.5 grams, 3 tablespoons of tahini - 8 grams
• 1/4 cup (2 oz.) walnuts - 5 grams
• 1 oz. pistachios - 5.8 grams
• 2 tbsp almonds - 4 grams
• Nut butters - peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter - 2 tablespoons has about 8 grams of protein

4. Non-dairy milk - Soy, almond, ancient grain. 1 cup gets you 7-9 grams of protein.

5. Grains - Ancient grains, sprouted grains, multi-grains - a major part of the diet.
• Quinoa is versatile and delicious. 1 cup - 9 grams.
• Amaranth, bulgur, brown rice, wheat germ, oat bran are other grains with a high protein content.
• Seitan, or flavored wheat gluten, has about 52 grams per cup, but it may not be a good idea to eat a lot of it.
• Oatmeal - 1 cup = 6 grams.
• Sprouted grain bread products - buns, tortillas, bread. Pack a sandwich or a wrap and you'll get 7-10 grams from the bread alone.

6. Convenience foods: There are vegan protein powders and bars to fill in the gaps on the go. Hemp - 30 grams of hemp powder in your smoothie gives you 11 grams of protein.

7. Supplements - spirulina and chlorella are used often by vegetarians and vegans for their rich nutrient content, and protein content

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