Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guest Post - How Do You Get Protein on a Vegetarian Diet?

Before we get into today's post, I want to introduce you to my wonderful friend, Brittani! 


Hi, Brittani!
Brittani and I met a couple years ago when we worked together at the same alternative medicine practice. We became fast friends and bonded over our shared love of healthy living. We've stayed in touch and I recently discovered that she started a blog, Broccoli Babbles. I checked it out and as soon as I saw it I knew that I wanted her to write something for my own blog. She is a very talented writer and cook and I knew she would bring a unique perspective because Brittani is a vegetarian. You may be thinking that vegetarians don't belong in the same room as those who follow a Paleo diet, but I beg to differ. I am of the opinion that there are many paths to health and happiness and we are each on our own path. 

Today, she is going to give you a little glimpse into her protein-packed vegetarian eats. Paleo or not, Brittani has some awesome recipes and healthy living info. over on her blog so you should definitely check her out. Click the links below to follow Broccoli Babbles:


With that being said, I'll turn it over to Brittani...

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Just putting the words Paleo and Vegetarian in the same sentence might be considered a punishable crime to some. I understand. I'll be the first to admit it isn't the easiest thing to wrap your head around, but let me explain...

When my wildly successful Paleo blogger friend, Tarah, invited me to write a guest blog on her site, of course I immediately obliged. It did take me some time, however, to come up with a topic that would please both the cavemen and hippie folks among us. What do the two ideologies have in common? What can both groups of people come together and agree upon?

The importance of protein, of course!

It’s easy to assume that vegetarians don’t get enough protein in their diets. From a young age, we were taught that meat is our biggest source of protein, so when you hear about a weird group of people who completely eliminate meat from their diet, what else are you to conclude?

Speaking of, I attended a "Lunch and Learn" at work this week and the topic of protein got brought up in conversation. The speaker asked the crowd, "Where do we get our protein?" Of course, without even the slightest pause to consider their answer, the entire class blurted out, "Meat!" You guessed it; I cringed...

As a vegetarian, of course I have to put more thought into my sources of protein compared to someone who eats grilled chicken and Mahi-Mahi on a regular basis. When first adapting to this vegetarian lifestyle, I had to get really creative and do extensive research on the subject. I was like those people in the Lunch and Learn class; I seriously had no idea how much protein was offered in non-meat foods.

It took some time to even work some of the most common non-meat, protein-filled foods into my diet. To be quite honest, I had never even heard the word quinoa. I rarely ate nuts, and eggs were only something I had (deviled) around Christmas time.

So, what do I eat on a daily basis? And what foods do I rely on to give me the most protein? I compiled a small list just to give you an idea.

Breakfast:
*Greek yogurt with sautéed banana (in coconut oil), topped with pecan pieces
*Eggs in any form (fried, scrambled, omelets, etc.)
*Protein smoothies (Garden of Life Raw Protein, banana, spinach, chia seeds, flax seeds, almond milk)

                                 

Lunch:
*Trader Joe’s Organic Vegetable Lentil Soup (no weird ingredients and adequate amounts of protein)
*Apple with Justin’s Peanut Butter Spread
*Steamed veggies with jasmine rice

                                                 

Dinner:
*Sweet Potato Salad (Sounds so strange, I know. Chop a sweet potato, cook it in coconut oil and add it to your salad. So good.)
*Portabella Mushroom Pizzas (Use the mushroom as your “crust,” add your favorite toppings and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes)

My decision to become a vegetarian was something that evolved over time. It’s one of those, “the more you know, the less you eat” kind of things. I enjoy talking with and learning from people who eat various diets, because it’s so interesting to understand how different diets work for different people. There are so many ways of "eating right," so many opinions, and so many people who claim to absolutely know it all. I could sit here and pitch to you every reason on earth why you shouldn't eat meat and I'm sure you all would immediately spout off the fact that our bodies are genetically programmed to perform like our cavemen ancestors.

And, to me, that’s the beauty of it all…

I think we can all agree that living a healthy lifestyle, regardless of how we accomplish it, is our number one priority. Considering protein is a vital part of our health, I thought this would be a good topic to discuss. I hope it’s given you just a small glimpse into a vegetarian diet and the (sometimes weird) ways in which we get our protein.