One month into eating plant-strong...help me get more protein!
Okay, so I've been plant-strong since January 4th. Besides a couple of tablespoons of Greek yogurt and a little bit of soup with a chicken broth base when I was sick I have been pretty much eating a vegan diet. I feel okay (though huuungry which is probably because my calories are just naturally lower). I've incorporated a lot more veggies into my diet and am even eating ones I don't like/never thought I would like (I didn't eat many veggies at all before. This is big for me. :carrot:). I'm nowhere near perfect, but I'm much better than I was. I ate animal protein at literally every meal until then.
I'm concerned I'm not getting enough protein. I think I'm doing a pretty good job pairing my proteins to make sure they are complete (I'm finishing my degree to become a Registered Dietitian so I know all about complimentary proteins, lol), but grams wise I'm concerned I'm not getting enough... Would anyone be willing to make some suggestions based on a "sample day"? I'd really appreciate it.
1 scoop Sunwarrior protein powder
1/2 cup of kale
1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
3/4 mixed berries (blueberries and raspberries)
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal (rolled oats)
1 medium sized apple
1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
1tbsp maple syrup
Walnuts (about 10 chopped and sprinkled on top)
1/2 cup cooked lentils
2-3 cups of spinach
1/2 red pepper
1 baby cucumber
1tbsp of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
2tbsp hemp hearts
2-3tbsp dried cranberries
Veggie burger (homemade) containing shredded carrots, broccoli florets, brown rice, beans, chiles, onion, garlic. Sometimes on a bun, sometimes with salad.
Vegetarian chilli with tomatoes, beans, bulgur, red peppers, onion.
And depending on the time of day and what I have for breakfast I might squeeze an afternoon snack in there. If I don't have a protein shake for breakfast I will have a small protein shake for a snack.
Disclaimer: I am not a vegetarian nor a vegan.
I honestly think your sample menu looks good and that you are doing great protein-wise. Don't forget, plants do have protein. Upon googling, I found a top 10 list of protein-packed plants. They are: cauliflower, aspagarus, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, spinach, broccoli, quinoa, and oatmeal.
Thanks! I appreciate another pair of eyes (or a few other pairs of eyes!). It's easy to get overwhelmed. So many changes in such a short period of time!
I like quinoa. I don't know why I haven't been eating it more. I must get back to that.
Your sample food day seems really nice... If you're still hungry just eat more of the protein at your meal along with more veggies, or eat more often... We need a lot less protein than we think. I say if you're feeling good don't worry too much about it.... When I don't have enough protein I know right away and just have more protein usually beans or something.
When I first when plant strong, a year ago January, I was really worried about not having enough protein because I do a lot of weight training... I was so wrong I feel fine with the meals I have, which BTW are very similar to the ones you have.
For a sustainable future as a vegan, learn continue to develop your beans and lentils repertoire of recipes. There is lots of protein in these beans. They are low fat, filling and if you explore the cuisine well you will find plenty that tasty. I recently learnt from a vegan that its not necessary to pair the beans for whole proteins. when you understand what's involved, it makes sense. Mostly what's missing in any one food is just a part of one protein and you might get that from a vegetable or some other thing you are eating but for the sake of taste and satisfaction these pairings are well worthwhile.
I would start with learning indian recipes.
There are also some great italian and greek bean soups though they usually include meat for flavour but its still possible to make tasty dishes without the meat base flavours.
lean how to make hummus.
mexican frijole. of course the mexicans and south americans have lots of bean dishes.
go to cooking classes if you need a bit of motivation and excitement.
go and try the bean dishes in indian restaurants another restaurants for ideas. Try to analyse the recipes.
learn how to cook iwht spices.
Actually indian bean dishes can be surprisingly simple with only a about three spices but if you don't mind hot food, you can even buy boxes of spice mix.
baked beans on toast is an old favourite of mine too.
All beans and legumes are very healthy and nutritious. Probably one of the best whole foods around.
also includes seeds on your salads or a few nuts. These make your salads really tasty and in order to help you from blowing your diet on nuts putting them in a recipe is a great way to use them.
I think you could easily eat more lentils and beans without blowing your calorie intake. I"d go for a cup a day at least.
I am not sure where you are going to school, but complementary proteins theory is not really followed much any more. Also, when they say protein, they mean Amino Acids, and source does not matter. Dietary amino acids are described as "Topping off a leaky bucket." This is, the protein you eat combines after leaving your digestive tract, and also it is used to replace obligatory losses though sweat, feces, and so on. The protein that builds your muscles is scavenged from your own body, break down of endothelial cells, digestive juices, and muscle.
240 g of protein is broken down daily (on average theoretically) meaning you need 260 g of amino acids. 1/6ths of this comes from diet. Meaning that 1/6th of protein broken down by endogenous protein degradation are not recycled. So this is where the number 43.333 comes from (1/6 ths of 260).
The actual amount you would need would be determined by a nitrogen balance study to determine if the amino acids in your system are to low or too high. Most people do not have the luxury of this kind of testing though.
1c of cooked black turtle beans (my favorite) is 39g of protein. So, you need 4 more grams.
1 stalk of broccoli is 4.3
There you go, all the protein you need all day!
If you are worried about not having "all" of the amino acids, remember that most of the amino acids come from the use of your own body tissue, and that has already been put together. You are just topping off with raw materials, so it does not matter if they go in at the same time, or if one is a day late-- dosen't matter. You can eat 1c of beans one day, and 1c or rice another day. Just make sure to eat a "variety" of food so you have all your amino acids.
And this is what the latest nutritionists are saying: Eat a variety of starches (carbs) fruits, veg to give your body a good selection of molecules it can use. I also believe that once your body is getting a good selection daily, there is less of an incentive to "save" or store materials, as in the case of fat.
Oh, also your body can only assimilate about 25 grams of protein at a time. I do not know what "at a time" means. Either way, any more, and you are talking major health problems.
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