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back roads and mason jars

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tofu

Adventure Days!

Sometimes it’s nice to not have a plan.  My husband and I set out this weekend with only one goal – get our fur baby his favorite treats.  Anything else was just an adventure.  These days are usually my favorite since we can end up anywhere or find some awesome hidden gem.  These days aren’t glamorous or as thrilling as a roller coaster ride, but I love them.  It’s time that we get to spend just chatting about random topics while having fun.

To fuel our adventure day, we choose a classic favorite – Chipotle.  I am pretty sure the entire world is in love with Chipotle at this point.  It’s great for my family since I can easily eat vegan while my husband can get his carnivore fix.  My favorite combination, pictured to the right, is a burrito bowl with white rice, black beans, fajita vegetables, pico de gallo, corn salsa and lots of guacamole!  A little secret for you – if you don’t get a meat in your bowl, guac is FREE!  I mean who doesn’t want free guac on everything!?  They do have a vegan meat alternative that is delicious and tofu based.  You may have even tried it by accident already!  That option is sofritas which is braised with chipotle chilies, poblanos, and other spices according to their website.

Below is a list of all the vegan options at Chipotle to help you make your favorite combination.  The allergen page on Chipotle’s website lists every vegan item as well.

Soft Flour Tortilla (Burrito & Taco Size)

Corn Tortilla (Soft & Crispy)

Sofritas

Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice

Cilantro-Lime White Rice

Black Beans

Pinto Beans

Fajita Veggies

Fresh Tomato Salsa (Mild)

Tomatillo Red-Chili Salsa (Hot)

Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa (Medium Hot)

Roast Chili-Corn Salsa (Medium)

Romaine Lettuce

Guacamole

Fresh Tortilla Chips

Bye y’all!

are you scared? part 3

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!

are you scared? part 1

What’s stopping you from being vegetarian or vegan?

Are you scared of tofu and meat alternatives?

Are you scared of being deprived?

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

Are you scared you’ll never have anything to eat?

Is it just too expensive for you?

But I can’t live without cheese!

 

I’ve been there with you.  I’ve had these hesitations and fears too.  I’m here to tell you that it’s OK.  The biggest advantage you can give yourself is to be open minded.  That changed everything for me.  I also challenge you try eating a few vegetarian or vegan meals each week.  If you do, let me know how you feel – Did you enjoy it? Did you hate it? Did you feel better or worse? What did you try?  Over this Friday mini series, I’ll show you that it is possible and worth it to try more plant based meals in your rotation.

Are you scared of tofu & meat alternatives?

Image result for tofu turkey everybody loves raymondI know what you’re thinking.  Tofu is what TV sitcom nightmares are made of in disguise as a tofu turkey at Thanksgiving dinner.  It can be so good!  My favorite use of tofu is baked crispy in an Asian stir fry, a tofu scramble as an egg replacement or silken tofu added to frozen fruit in a smoothie to add a delightful texture and protein boost.

In addition to tofu, there are LOTS of companies that have spent a ton of time and resources creating delicious replicas of your favorite meals as well.  Some of my favorite companies for meat alternatives are Gardein, Beyond Meat, Boca, Morningstar and Field Roast.  Most of the nutrition is comparable to the meat version or less in terms of calories and packed with protein.
pizza-watermarkGardein provides lots of options like fish, crab cakes, sweet and sour pork and even pizza pockets!  What’s better than cholesterol free pizza?
gardein-watermark

 

 

Beyond Meat is the new standard for beef beyond-watermarkalternatives and they do not disappoint.  Currently they provide a seasoned and original ground beefless product and a variety of chicken alternatives.  These delicious sliders pack 23 grams of protein in a single serving! Not too shabby!

 

 

boca-watermarkBoca and Morningstar make vegetarian and vegan options but the products are labeled clearly to distinguish which diet you follow.  My favorite Boca products are their beefless crumbles, chick’n nuggets and they have the BEST spicy chick’n pattie.  Morningstar offers more vegetarian products than vegan options.  The morningstar-watermarkvegetarian options that we enjoy are the wings – buffalo and parmesan garlic flavors, chipotle black bean crumbles and corn dogs.  Our favorite vegan option, hands down, is the hickory BBQ riblets.  Most of these products are found in the frozen food section of a lot of grocery stores.

 

 

field-roast-watermarkField Roast provides exact replicas of breakfast sausages, frankfurters and burgers that are worthy of any backyard BBQ.  These are usually found in the natural section of the grocery store.

 

 

Bye y’all!

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