My vegan ‘experiment’ is now coming to a close. I have missed meat – but only marginally. My lunches and dinners this week have been absolutely filled to the brim with veggies, both raw and roasted, plus healthy doses of good fats like tahini, nuts and seeds. I have also incorporated a decent amount of quinoa and legumes back into my diet, two things I gave up eating completely while on the Paleo diet. Even tempeh featured for dinner once, which I don’t usually eat (see my previous post on soy. Due to the fermentation process, tempeh is a safe form of soy to consume).
Honestly, I have been full for hours and totally satisfied. There was one occasion when I was sitting at a restaurant while my boyfriend ate dinner and I craved a bite of his chicken, but largely I have loved going sans meat (I don’t eat dairy anyway so this part of the vegan diet wasn’t a challenge for me).
Other results? Although I was not trying to, I am pretty sure I have lost weight. In this week’s workouts I have concentrated solely on resistance training so my body is a lot tighter and stronger but leaner as well. I was initially worried that no meat would equal lack of muscle growth post weights however I seem to be getting adequate protein from the copious amounts of greens and nuts in my diet.
For those wanting to give a vegetarian or vegan diet a go, below are the top seven plant based sources of protein:
Quinoa: 11g protein per cup
Quinoa is great as a base for a veggie burger pattie, or eaten cold with veggies or warmed up like porridge.
Lentils: 17.9g protein per cup
Lentils can be thrown into any salad for added protein or used in curries and stews. They are incredibly easy to cook and super cheap too.
Tempeh: 24g protein per 4 ounces
As mentioned in my soy post, tempeh is a fermented soybean-based food. It can be used in stews or pastas instead of meat.
Seitan: 24g protein per 4 ounces
This is sort of a meat substitute and I would tend to stay away (I have a strong loathing for faux meat). It is very high in protein however. Those sensitive to gluten should avoid seitan as it is made from wheat gluten.
Beans (black, kidney, mung, pinto): 12-15g protein per cup
Beans are so versatile. Great in stews, Mexican or tossed through salds.
Spirulina: 6g protein per 10 grams
Spirulina is a blue-green algae and contains all essential amino acids. You can take spirulina supplements (tablet and powder form) or consume it via various drinks such as Kombucha.
Hemp seeds: 16g protein per 3 tablespoons
Hemp seeds are illegal in Australia but they are widely used throughout the health industry in the US. The seeds are great on top of cereal in the morning, mixed through salads or in smoothies.
I am still trying to decide whether I will order meat for dinner tonight but the past week going without has definitely been enjoyable.