Vegan Goodies Catering, Vegancitas and Quiver Distro and the Liberation Fall at the Southern California Library of Social Studies and Research on 10/24/2009
The Oldways is a decades old organization focusing on living healthy though balanced heritage based diets.
In October of 2013 at an International conference held in Austin, Texas an update to their 1997 Vegetarian Diet Pyramid to include new vegan guidelines was introduced!
These new guidelines are a perfect way for new vegans to wrap their head around the basic nutrition your body needs and the vegan alternatives that offer it to you. It’s also a great way for Vegans to check their own diets to find any deficiencies or areas they are overlooking.
The Base level of the pyramid is of course fruit and vegetables! These are incredibly important for almost all your nutritional needs. They not only provide vitamins and minerals but are a great source of protein for vegans.
Just above it in importance are whole grains, a staple in vegans diets providing you with the healthy carbohydrates your body needs. It’s important to note the emphasis on whole grains over processed grains such as those you see in white flour and white breads. This processing strips away so much of what makes the grains healthy , short tracking it to be converted to blood sugar.
Beans , Peas, Lentils, and Soy make up the middle of the pyramid providing you with essential proteins and fiber.
Above it are the Nuts so important in providing healthy fats and protein, and they’re the perfect snack too
Finally, the spice of life sits of top.. Well , the spice of food at least. Essential to nutritional balance, the plant based cooking oils and different herbs and spices used definitely go a long way with the variety of vegan dishes out there.
Being vegan means the top row of the pyramid is a no go, but it just goes to show that all the nutrition offered at this very top level is already covered by the vegan base. So glad to see the distinction being made in this updated version.
There are many different places in nature where we can get essential proteins our muscles need to stay healthy. Here are a few key ingredients you can use that are rich in protein and other nutrients.
According to WebMD
Adult men need about 56 grams a protein daily while adult women need about 46 grams.
Eat Your Veggies
One of the main sources of protein you’ll consume as a vegan is through vegetables. There are tons of different options available to you at your local store.
One source of protein that ranks among the highest is with green peas. One cup of cooked green peas will net you about 8 grams of protein. That’s actually as much as you would get in a cup of milk.
More vegetables that are rich in protein include leafy spinach and collard greens. Also greens such as broccoli and asparagus are easy to use in a number of dishes.
Beans beans are good for the heart
Ok, but seriously they are really great for you. Just two cups of the popular and tasty kidney beans contain almost half your daily requirement (26 grams of protein). The best thing about beans is there is so much variety of textures and flavors that you’ll never get bored with the possibilities. Chickpeas are delicious on their own as a snack throughout the day or can me mashed and combined with different herbs to make an amazing hummus dip.
Another great source of protein is in the seed Quinoa which contains 8 grams per cup. This may be the first time you’ve heard of this superfood but it is surprisingly versatile and can be used in a number of different recipes.
In facts nuts and seeds are natures perfect snack as well as a great source of protein for vegans. I personally prefer lightly salted or unsalted since I tend to snack on them quite often. Sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts , cashews .. All delicious.
Can I tempt you with some Tofu?
To the uninitiated the thought of tofu is usually synonymous with bland , tasteless mush. Well of course this could not be further than the truth. There is a large range of textures available from soft to firm. In fact tofu is very good at taking on the flavors it is good with. Often times it is used as a meat substitute in vegan dishes.
The best part of tofu is it is very rich in protein! Around 40 grams per cup is a substantial amount of your daily requirements.
What about for a glass of milk?
Well I’m so glad you asked. Soy milk and Almond milk are amazing substitutes by the glass or in your recipes. I prefer vanilla soy milk in my cereal , but it comes in a variety of flavors. Soy is another one of those wonder foods that is so versatile in its usage.
Hopefully I’ve been able to shed some light on easy protein rich ingredients for vegans that you can use to help you make the transition. Please share some more of your favorites in the comments for everyone to see.
Veganism is the act of abstaining from the consumption and personal use of any animal products.
It’s a very simple definition, but many people find living the lifestyle this philosophy entails very challenging. To those who have never tried it , the idea might seem downright impossible. This is mostly because of misconceptions surrounding what sacrifices need to be made to be able to call yourself a vegan.
Many don’t know it , but a lot of comfort foods and staples most people eat are already considered vegan friendly. These include deserts such as Oreo cookies, plain pop tarts, cherry snack pies and more. In fact vegan desserts are some of the most popular and best tasting recipes you will find. Many vegan deserts have won awards over their dairy based counterparts and on average are much more nutritious due to the creative substitutions that sometimes need to be made.
One of the strongest arguments for adopting a vegan lifestyle is the obvious health benefits such a diet can bring. One of the most common misconceptions about eating vegan is that without meat and dairy you will not be able to get all the vitamins and protein your body needs to stay healthy. This of course is based on the assumption that meat is the only place in nature to get protein and essential vitamins. In fact, there are much healthier kinds of protein from sources that don’t include the killing of living animals.
Peas, nuts, beans such as chickpeas and soy, and seeds such as sesame and sunflower are all amazing sources of protein that you can incorporate into meals and snacks to ensure you always have the balance of nutrition your body needs to stay healthy.
The most important thing to remember about going vegan is that there is no rush to dive right in and get overwhelmed. Start slow by cutting meat out of your life one day of the week. Dedicate this day to learning a new vegan recipe and discovering new ingredients to cook with. Demystify the idea of what a vegan dish can be and you’ll soon start to get excited about all the possibilities.
Take a look around at the different recipes and videos I’ve found to help get you started on your journey. If you’ve been a vegan for a while please share some thoughts and recipes to help those just starting.