Tuesday, November 15, 2011

But where do you get your protein?

The title of this blog is one of the most annoying questions I get asked as a (mostly) vegetarian. For those of you who are new to the blog or just stopped by, I don't like to label my eating habits, but I eat mostly vegan at home, and vegetarian when I eat out at restaurants. 

This question really annoys me for two reasons
1. Most people that ask me this question know far less than I do about nutrition and health (yes, I'm a bit snobby about this subject, but ask any of my friends, nutrition is my passion!)
2. It makes me feel like the person asking me this question thinks they know more than I do about my body, which again, is super frustrating. 

However, I understand that people are hung up about protein and could really just be curious. But no one asks me where I get my essential B vitamins from- why not? B vitamins are just as crucial to the body (for nerve function) as protein is. 
Of course I smothered this in Sriracha after. 
Fact is there are so many vegetarian sources of protein it is incredibly easy to get enough protein, for me. I say for me, because I eat a diet of mostly whole foods. If you are consuming only vegan junk food (like vegan cupcakes) I guess it technically could be possible to be protein deficient. But have you ever in your life heard someone say they have kwashiorkor? Probably not because Americans don't get protein deficient! It's just not possible if you eat a mostly whole foods diet. 

Some vegetarian sources of protein include beans, tofu, dark, leafy greens and nuts. Did you know that 100 calories of spinach has more protein than 100 calories of beef? It's true! I thought it would be fun to share what a normal lunch looks like for me, with the approximate protein calculated. 

Most of what I eat for lunch is super fast and easy to assemble. I like to spend more time preparing dinners, but lunch tends to be quick. The other day I had black beans, leftover sautéed spinach and broccoli and half a roasted sweet potato. Delicious, fast, nutritious. 

Let's break down how much protein this meal had. 
Black beans, 1/2 cup : 7.5 grams protein
Sauteed spinach/broccoli, 1 cup: 5 grams protein. 
Sweet potato, 1/2 of one: 4 grams protein. 

In total, this meal provided me with 16-17 grams protein
Guess how much protein a turkey sandwich has (based on a 3 oz serving)? 11 grams

And this is just in one meal! Considering that I tend to have a tofu scramble for breakfast and sometimes even more protein at dinner, I am more than good to go. I also do eat fish once or twice a week, so clearly I don't have an issue, but I want to illustrate that it is possible to get enough protein from vegetarian sources. 

An excess of anything isn't good for you. An excess of protein in the body just turns in to fat, so all my body-building guy friends who think a healthy lunch includes 5 chicken breasts, watch out. That protein might be doing more damage to your arteries than you think. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

My awesome followers!