Thursday, January 13, 2011

What do you eat for protein?

Lots of people ask me what I eat for my protein source now that I have cut animal products from my diet. Honestly, before going veg, I only really ate chicken and fish with the occasional steak or red meat source. Even when we were grilling, I'd still make a veggie burger for myself.

But, now I do have to make sure that I get enough protein, since apparently chicken had a shitload of lean protein. So now my best sources are:

BEANS They pack alot of protein. Luckily there are plenty of beans to choose from, so I can have a variety. Its been easy to replace my old favorite meat-basted recipes with beans. I use chickpeas for my chickpea salad for lunch as well as using them in recipes. I also have grown to love black beans and kidney beans. Lentils are my newest bean to play around with.

TOFU I already liked tofu, so this one was easy. I love it in stir fries and grilled. I even made scrambled tofu last weekend and it was delicious!

QUINOA (keen-wah) SUPERFOOD! This baby is the queen of whole grains and complete protein. It can be used in place of rice in any recipe. (People in Bolivia even eat it as oatmeal - I have yet to try that one.) It is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  It is a great source of folate, iron, magnesium and zinc...and it is one of the few non-meat foods that provide all eight of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to repair themselves. Mmmm, mmmmm good!

NUTS Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. I try not to eat too much because of fat content, but plenty of protein here.

PROTEIN BARS / PROTEIN SHAKES I really love the Odwalla Super Protein bar that has 16g of protein...sometimes I will have that as part of my breakfast in the car if I am in a hurry or as an afternoon snack. I am still trying to find the best vegan protein mix that dissolves well in almond milk just with a spoon. I hate pulling out the blender, so I need one that dissolves easily - I'll keep you posted.

VEGGIE BURGERS I love my veggie burgers - any variety - bring 'em on! Luckily I loved veggie burgers even before going veg, so this was easy peasy. 

MEAT SUBSTITUTES - Gardein makes a whole bunch of delicious meat substitutes.The ones Ive tried are:
~the crispy tenders "chick'n strips" - my favorite so far- I even got my sister to eat them and she said she'd eat them again.
~the "buffalo wings" - yummy
~the stuffed turk'y breasts (available at Thanksgiving, but I still see them in the stores now)- amazing!
~chick'n & scallopini is still in my freezer - I'll let you know
~bbq pulled shreds - I was never ever big on pulled pork, so i I wasn't too crazy for this one. I got is for Craig to try - he wasn't too crazy for it either.
~chicken strips - I had them once and don't feel the need to have them again. I'd rather put garbanzo beans on my salad

Edamame Mmmmm mmmmm! Fresh green soybeans (thankfully not genetically modified) Another complete protein source! A 1/2-cup serving of shelled edamame contains only 100 calories, with 3 g of unsaturated fat and 8 g of protein. It also provides 4 g of fiber and is a good source of calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Edamame doesn't contain any cholesterol and has very little sodium* (unless you throw some salt on them, of course!)

Protein can even be found in my everyday goodies such as oatmeal, cereals, bagels, breads, broccoli, potatoes, peas, and even spaghetti and rice

I am still learning about / experimenting with..... 

SEITAN - no, not Satan...say-tan -it's the protein part of wheat gluten. Some people refer to it as "wheat meat." Ive used it once in a stir fry - it had a chewy texture like meat- good if you drown it with a yummy sauce. Boring if its plain.

TEMPEH The NKOTB for me (oh, that's 'new kid on the block' for those of you unfamiliar with boy band lingo.) I've been interested in this even though its higher in fat than tofu or other proteins. I bought some 'jalapeno flavored' at the Farmer's Market and it was DELICIOUS! I cant wait to get another container. (wikipedia says..."it is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty.")

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