What’s stopping you from being vegetarian or vegan?

Part 3 of the Friday mini series addressing the fears of a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle focuses on the #1 asked question when people find out that I don’t eat meat anymore – But where do you get your protein?!  Click to read part 1 and part 2!

Are you worried you’ll never get enough protein for those gains you’re working on?

Our society has become obsessed with protein specifically animal based.  Between the meat counters at the supermarket, whey protein shakes of every flavor and even protein infused vodka, there is a high demand for animal products to support a high protein – low carb lifestyle.  As a weight loss surgery patient, I lived this life for several years and I felt miserable.  I was instructed by a nutritionist in connection with my surgeon on what I should consume in my new post-op life.  My nutrition instruction was based largely on a diabetic diet.  I only met with her for approximately 30 minutes once before surgery and never afterwards.  I was given instructions to consume a minimum of 75 grams of firm animal based protein each day starting each meal with the protein first and, if I still had hunger, I could have some vegetables or fruit.  While the surgery did help me lose a significant amount of my excess weight, I just wasn’t happy with the way I felt.

When I started transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle, I was still obsessed with calculating my protein grams each day.  How could I survive without protein?  I know how silly this thought process was now.  The USDA recommends 5 ounces of protein for a woman in my age range which is far less than what I was consuming each day.  My blood work started to suffer from my diet as well.  For the first time in my life, my cholesterol was starting to rise enough to concern my doctor and discuss medication.  In an attempt to eliminate having to take medication, I started taking meat out of my diet. Below is a standard formula for the recommended protein grams that you need per day.

Formula for protein grams:

Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36 = Recommended Protein (in grams)

seafood-watermarkI started first by researching more on the nutrition of fruits, vegetables and grains and changing my mindset.  I was so tired of my diet and knew there was no way I could eat this way for the rest of my life.  My research led me to protein grams first naturally given my previous mindset.

beyond-meat-watermark

I traded in bacon, steak, chicken and eggs for tofu, beans, pasta, broccoli and meat alternatives.  I’ve never felt better!  Now I know I get my recommended protein grams without even trying and I focus more on getting the recommended 35 grams of fiber per day instead.  Below shows some examples of vegan foods and their protein grams.  As you’ll see, it is so easy (and yummy!) to get your daily recommended protein grams cruelty free plus fiber!

Protein Source Serving Size Protein Fiber
Tofu 1/2 cup 10 grams 0 grams
Black Beans 1 cup 39 grams 29 grams
Lentils 1 cup 18 grams 16 grams
Hemp Seeds 3 Tbsp. 11 grams 1 gram
Quinoa 1 cup 9 grams 5 grams
Green Peas 1 cup 8 grams 7 grams
Pasta 1 cup 8 grams 2.5 grams
Nutritional Yeast 2 Tbsp. 8 grams 4 grams
Peanut Butter 2 Tbsp. 8 grams 2 grams
Artichokes 1 medium 4.2 grams 7 grams
Asparagus 1 cup 2.9 grams 2.8 grams
Broccoli 1 cup 2.6 grams 2.4 grams
Spinach 1 cup .9 grams .7 grams
Meat Alternative Protein Fiber
Beyond Beef Patty 23 grams 4 grams
Boca Beefless Grounds 13 grams 3 grams
Gardein Porkless Bites 13 grams 2 grams
Boca Chik’in Patty 12 grams 3 grams
Gardein Crabless Cakes 9 grams 1 gram
Gardein Fishless Filets 9 grams 3 grams
Gardein Crispy Chicken 8 grams 1 gram

Bye y’all!