Early July Morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Vegan? Vegetarian? or What?

How much protein does one need each day?  Well, according to Dr Oz, it depends on how much you weigh and how active you are, BUT (Dr Oz says), on average one needs about 25 grams each meal, so that means about 75 grams each day. This is on the high side because...
Dr Oz also recommended that a 130 lb woman only needs about 48 grams. If you do the math then it would be .37 grams of protein per pound of weight. So, if you took my daughter who weighs about 110 pounds, she only needs 40.7 grams. But she probably needs a little more since she is an athlete (teaches 22 or more dance and yoga classes a week. She is also on a dance company and does take yoga classes too). That is still far from the 75 grams mentioned above.

Today, Americans get way too much protein. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average American male gets about 102 grams of protein a day and the average female gets 70 grams. That is almost double what the Food and Nutrition Board say one should have. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends, if you are a hard core athlete, then you only need .5 to .8 grams of protein per pound. For my daughter that would be about 55 grams. 
Most people think you have to eat a lot of meat or dairy to get your protein, but even Dr Oz says there are a lot of vegetarian ways to get it.

If you don't get enough protein, you could suffer from muscle loss and fatigue. Your metabolism will slow down and put you at a higher risk for gaining weight. Not enough protein can also weaken your immune system. So we all need to get adequate protein.
My daughter and her husband started being vegetarian over a year ago, and eventually they became vegan. I was a bit concerned whether they would get enough nutritional elements, particularly protein. I didn't say much thinking I could gather info from her as she discussed their journey. My husband and I visited them on occasion and ate "vegan" with them. I'll have to say, I was impressed. It was a lot of work, but it was very healthy, and very delicious too!

So, how can you get your protein? Well, of course you can get it by eating meat, dairy and eggs, but none of that is vegan. Here is a site that gives some ideas of what they eat.
What did my daughter and her husband typically eat?
One thing they like to have for breakfast is this yummy cooked cereal that has about 8 grams of protein. 
1/2 mashed banana
1 tablespoon flax seed with 3 tablespoon of water (egg substitute)
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon vegan choc chips
1 tablespoon pecans
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
small amount of vanilla
grease glass dish with coconut oil. mix ingredients and put into the dish and cook in 350 oven for about 25 to 30 minutes. let rest one minute before devouring. this makes one serving....and it is YUMMY!!!

Here is a good recipe for lunch, which will give you about 23+ grams of protein. It will serve about four.
1 can black beans 
1 cup uncooked (you cook it like rice and add it later) quinoa
1 can corn
1 avocado
1 tomato
1 onion
1/4 cup cilantro
Cayenne pepper to taste, or not if you don't like

Okay,  you have 31 grams of protein so far. They like to eat a lot of kale chips, and that adds another 5 or so grams depending on how much you eat. So now it's up to 36 grams, and we have not had any dinner yet. So, she needs another 19 grams for the day.
One thing they like to make is "cheese." When I first heard about this, I thought they were crazy, but they make it out of cashews and serve it over whole wheat pasta. Here is a recipe for it. So at a dinner where they would have the "cheese" over the whole wheat pasta, which they might add some cooked spinach too, and have a salad, they are now up to 53 grams of protein. A lot of times, they will have a dessert and instead of sugar, they use dates. This  will up the protein count too. They like to add nutritional yeast to a lot of their meals which is very delicious and has about three grams of protein per serving. 

It is a lot of work to be vegan, but if you do it right, it is very healthy. Not sure I could be vegan, as I love my cheese, ice cream and eggs for breakfast too much. I'm not much of a meat fan, so I could easily be vegetarian. 

My daughter has had some health issues, and this is why she has done some experimenting on the vegan diet. They have been vegan for about a year, and she has seen a lot of improvement with her health. That being said, she is not sure that she will continue once they start a family. I have read somewhere where pregnant women need as much as 75 grams of protein a day...wow! MUCH more research and investigating needs to be done about that. 

Once Ashley gets pregnant and after the baby is born, they may or may not go back to vegan or vegetarian...if you think about it though, babies are vegan...except for mother's milk, but that is what it is for, and natural. A baby is on mother's milk for several months before they start food, and then they start with the rice cereal, then veggies and fruits. Meat is not added until they have teeth (that baby food jar meat is gross!). I think this will be a life long journey for their family. If being vegan is healthy for my daughter, then she needs to stick with that. I know they will do the right thing for their family, and if they feel that their family needs meat, then they will have it, but if their kids have health issues like my daughter, they may not have meat in their home. 

Personally, I feel that "everything in moderation" is the way to go. Most of us do NOT do that. I see people eating platefulls of bacon...that...is not in moderation; and this is typical! I also feel our food is not longer truly food. So much of it is processed and fake. This is why so many of us are unhealthy...but that is another blog post.



  1. Trying to improve cardiac health is why we did the vegan /vegetarian thing, a few years ago. It is way harder here where there is little choice in restaurants, etc. We still have no meat meals, and smoothies are favorite breakfast. I stay away from beef and hamburgers still.

    1. I love smoothies too. I like to add spinach in them...YUM!! As far as beef goes, we eat deer whenever we do eat the red meat. personally, I don't like any meat that much except shell fish.