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)
I 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.
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|
|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|