October 15, 2012 by Pepper A.K.A "Greek Lightning"
If you are vegan, you can probably count on YOUR two hands, the hands of your sister, her college roommate, and the paws of her dog how many times you hear someone ask – “You’re vegan??”
“But, how do you get your protein?”
Well, I am here to dispel the myth that vegans are just weaklings that live off of grass and sunflower seeds. There are some really awesome vegan whole foods AND supplements that allow for people to be athletic and not peter out by mile marker 5 due to malnutrition. Here are a few of my favorite ways to get protein!
Lifetime Life’s Basics Protein Powder: If I was going to be stranded on an island and could only pick one protein powder for the rest of my life, this one would be it. It has a really nice vanilla flavor and tastes especially great in the protein bars that I bake (I promised you a recipe, didn’t I…. hmmm…next post!) and it also tastes really good mixed in with my morning oats.
PlantFusion Chocolate Protein Powder: Okay, well, if they would only let me pick one FLAVOR of protein powder and I had to pick chocolate while on the island, this is the one I would pick. It is really great as a protein shake with Almond Milk and a little bit of ice. OH! Wait! I must inform you right now that if you place silken tofu in your food processor with some of this protein powder… OMG it tastes like chocolate pudding. No lie. Try it. Tonight.
Tofu: Another awesome source of protein. There are so many different types of tofu that sometimes, it can seem overwhelming if you are new to the vegan protein scene. I would like to do a post on just tofu because there is so much to say about this stuff, but for now, I will leave you with this great advice that was given to me. If you are looking to make meaty, baked tofu, use a firm or ultra firm (NON SILKEN) tofu. Put it in the freezer, in the package until the day you are ready to use it. On that day, take it out about 5 hours in advance and let it thaw. Once it is thawed, take it out of the package and squeeze it until most of the water comes out. Then, you can marinate and bake it to your heart’s content and it will taste amazing. If you are looking to make pumpkin pie, pudding, use it in place of eggs for baking, etc., you will use the siken tofu. There are many different textures listed on the boxes of silken (soft, firm, etc.). My advice is that they are pretty similar when they are silken and you just need to play around with them until you get a texture you prefer. I like the silken firm for my protein pudding that I mentioned above. Whew! See – I need a post just on tofu.
Tempeh: I literally JUST tried tempeh for the fist time on Saturday night. I made Tempeh bacon and it was fantastic. My hubby, who is trying to eat more veg foods, but is not vegan, tried it also. He was not as fond of it as I am, but he did not spit it out and claim that it grows in “the devils garden”. In fact, I made tempeh chili last night and he ate 3 bowls. Nuff said.
There is a trick to tempeh, however, that I have to share with you. You must steam it first before you use it in your recipes. 10 minutes in the little veggie steamer and you are ready to roll. Then, you can marinate it, season it, etc. and cook it however you like!
Seitan: Although it is made from wheat, it is very different from bread. Also called “wheat meat”, “wheat gluten” or “gluten”, seitan, when cooked, resembles the texture of meat. It is very high in protein, low in fat and carbs and if you don’t have gluten issues, it really is a perfect food for vegans to get protein. I love it with some yellow curry sauce over brown rice. Delish.
Primal Seitan Jerky: I love these . They are delicious and portable and pack an impressive amount of protein and are just downright delish. I like the Thai peanut and the teriyaki flavors. YUM!
Lentils: Packed with protein, low in fat and just downright delicious. One cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein! That is analogous to your average pork chop (without the cholesterol!). I use the brown lentils mostly and make a really good stew by putting them in a pan with a 2:1 ratio of veggie stock to lentils. I put some mushrooms in while it is simmering and a little salt and pepper. It is awesome. Before cooking, always rinse lentils and pick out stones and other debris. Unlike dried beans and peas, there’s no need to soak them.
Chickpeas: Chickpeas (and all other beans, really!) are a great source of protein (and are low in fat). Chickpeas are such a versatile little bean – you can make humus, put them in salads, make veggie burgers and falafel…etc.
So, there you have it. A few of my favorite ways to lose the whey….. So now, when someone asks you…. “Vegans are all weak and wimpy right? I mean, how do they get their protein?” You can show them this: