Since we are now mostly meatless, I thought I would share a recipe or two every Monday (or every other, or every Monday I feel like it :) that doesn’t meat. Even if you have no intention of giving meat up, it is always good to eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, right? I think I will start next Monday with a recipe. Before I do that though, let me answer some questions from my post about going vegan.
What do you eat?
When I first read The China Study and felt like I wanted to go vegan, I thought the same thing – what the heck do vegans eat all day? At the time we considered ourselves pretty healthy eaters – we hardly ever ate thing like bacon and sausage, and I never kept cookies, chips, or fruit snacks in the house. But we ate dairy or meat in some form for every single meal and a lot of snacks, as I think most people do – cheese, eggs, milk, lunch meat, string cheese, yogurt, chicken, hamburger…..we ate it all. Weaning the kids off of it was not easy, and we really did it slowly because there is only so much whining I can take in one day :) Here are some examples of vegan foods I can now get everyone in my family to eat.
- Breakfast: vegan whole-wheat pancakes with maple syrup, healthy vegan muffins, smoothies, hashbrowns cooked with no oil, breakfast burritos made with those hashbrowns and black beans on whole-wheat tortillas (no cheese, of course), fruit, steel cut oats with almond milk and fruit, and when we are in a hurry, some whole-grain cereal with almond milk
- Lunch: This has been the toughest one because it has to be something I can make quickly and it has to transport well in the kids’ lunches for school. I make pasta salads with lots of veggies and a light Italian dressing, bean and brown rice burritos, natural peanut butter and honey (which is technically not vegan, but….yeah) sandwiches. For the side I always pack at least one helping of fruit, and sometimes some nuts.
- Dinner: Quinoa tacos is the favorite vegan meal of the family. Black bean burgers, chili and vegan cornbread, pasta with marinara or pesto, salads, soups, sweet potato fries, curries, tostadas, meatless and cheeseless enchiladas, stir-fry. Every couple of weeks I will cook either salmon or shrimp. All of this with lots of veggie side dishes.
- Snacks: FRUIT and lots of it. Ollie and are both big hummus fans so we also eat that with just about everything. Nuts.
The main thing I have tried to remember is that I don’t want this lifestyle to just be about abstaining from animal protein. It’s not just about what we don’t eat, it is also about all the good things we do eat instead.
How do you get enough protein?
Let me just quote directly from Rip Esselstyn of the Engine 2 Diet:
Ample amounts of protein are thriving in whole, natural plant-based foods. For example, spinach is 51 percent protein; mushrooms, 35 percent; beans, 26 percent; oatmeal, 16 percent; whole wheat pasta, 15 percent; corn, 12 percent; and potatoes, 11 percent.
What’s more, our body needs less protein than you may think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the average 150-pound male requires only 22.5 grams of protein daily based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet, which means about 4.5 percent of calories should come from protein. (WHO recommends pregnant women get 6 percent of calories from protein.) Other nutritional organizations recommend as little as 2.5 percent of daily calories come from protein while the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board’s recommended daily allowance is 6 percent after a built-in safety margin; most Americans, however, are taking in 20 percent or more.
Once I gave up meat I started paying attention to how much protein could be found in plants and I was surprised. Lots of plants are full of it.
If you want to know anything else, again, feel free to ask. There are also some very interesting books and documentaries out there. I would start with this film Forks Over Knives, which is on Netflix :
You can also watch it here on Hulu.
You have already heard me mention the book The China Study – I also highly recommend it. If you are local, you can even borrow my copy.