Protein and vegetarian diets

Let’s chat about protein and vegetarian diets

One of the most common concerns with respect to vegetarian or vegan diets is protein. From personal experience I can tell you that when I tell someone my daughter is vegetarian they inevitably ask how she gets her protein.

Why I absolutely love seeds

Believe or not but seeds are loaded with amazing nutrients!

And yes, I absolutely love seeds! They are really powerhouses. Though we don’t usually think about  seeds as replacements for animal protein in our diet, they can be a great addition to a vegetarian meal to increase its nutritional value.

At last count, I had the following in my pantry:

My Favourite Cookbooks

As I am sure you have come to realize, I like to cook. I also love taking cookbooks out of the library, book marking the recipes I want to make and then if there are enough that I really enjoy, buying the book. To get my list of books I go to the local bookstore and write down all the books they have featured at the front of the store.

At any given time, I’ll have 3 or 4 books sitting on the kitchen counter with little pieces of paper sticking out indicating the recipe I want to make.   My criteria for choosing the recipes are as follows:

Is it just a phase?

Your daughter declared she wants to become a vegetarian. What were your first thoughts? Do any of these resonate with you:

  1. What am I going to feed her?
  2. She’ll never get enough protein on a vegetarian diet
  3. How are we going to eat out?
  4. It’s just a phase, she’ll grow out of it

Are your kids eating breakfast?

As we have all heard many times “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  This especially holds true for our kids who are going off to school and need to have the ability to stay alert and focus throughout the day. They need fuel to support their bodies and brains.

Why I chose a vegetarian diet

My path to giving up meat

 

For me choosing to follow a mostly vegetarian diet did not happen overnight. However, the decision to give up meat was easy.  Meat just lost its appeal.  The thought of biting into a piece of fat or chewing off a bone turned my stomach. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

That was my first step towards following a mostly vegetarian diet (I will eat fish on occasion).  For a few years I didn’t eat any red meat. I decided to give up chicken while eating with my grandparents one evening. Seeing the bones and veins turned my stomach again.  I decided I just couldn’t eat it either anymore. I had no idea of the health or environmental implications. At the time, these issues were not topics the media followed.  Following a vegetarian diet was not mainstream at all.  Some people thought I was weird. There weren’t many cookbooks or resources available.

Is your daughter always hungry?

Does this happen in your house?? You prepare a nice meal for everyone, clear the table, load the dishwasher and clean everything up only to have your daughter come back to the kitchen an hour later to make a snack because she is hungry. This happens in my house and it drives me crazy! Maybe I should be more strict and tell them the kitchen is ‘closed’ like my mother did when I was a kid but I have a hard time saying no when my kids say they are hungry.  Should they have eaten more at supper, should I have made sure they ate a nutritionally-balanced meal with lots of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates?

The lowdown on tofu and tempeh

Mention tofu to some people and they instantly say they don’t like it. I bet half of these people just haven’t tasted a good recipe with tofu. As someone who has not eaten meat or chicken in about 30 years, tofu has always been part of my diet.  I use it in soups, salads, stir fries, salad dressings and sometimes in dessert. It can be confusing because there are so many types of regular and organic tofu; silken, soft, medium firm, firm, extra firm and now you can buy sprouted tofu. Choosing which type of tofu is ultimately based on your recipe and preference. First and foremost it is important to choose organic so that you don’t eat genetically modified soybeans.