Sunday 13 January 2013

My First Vegan Potluck!

I've been vegetarian for most of my life and although I grew up in a family of meat lovers, they have always respected my weird ways. In high school it was for ethical reasons, but I quickly learned there are some hardcore animal rights activists out there and as much as I love animals, that just isn't my thing. These days, I like to believe I live a healthy lifestyle of a meat free diet. I tried going vegan for a week, but there's 2 things holding me back: cheese and sushi! I just can't live without them! 

Last night, I went to my first vegan potluck and was amazed at how many dishes I enjoyed. My mom has been going to this on the second Saturday of every month, for a couple of months now. She's been so excited to take me with her, I've been looking forward to it, and I'm thrilled I finally got to experience it. Even in a city such as Houston, known for its barbeque and fast food chains on every corner, it was nice to see a community of people just like me!

There are 2 questions I always get asked when people learn I'm a vegetarian: why? and where do you get protein?

1. Ethics/ Animal Rights 
2. Health Reasons
3. Environmental Reasons

If you aren't already aware of it, eating meat causes almost 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined, according to a recent United Nations report entitled "Livestock's Long Shadow."

Protein? The list goes on and on...

Table 2: Protein Content of Selected Vegan Foods
Tempeh1 cup419.3
Seitan3 ounces3122.1
Soybeans, cooked1 cup299.6
Lentils, cooked1 cup187.8
Black beans, cooked1 cup156.7
Kidney beans, cooked1 cup136.4
Veggie burger1 patty1313.0
Chickpeas, cooked1 cup124.2
Veggie baked beans1 cup125.0
Pinto beans, cooked1 cup125.7
Black-eyed peas, cooked1 cup116.2
Tofu, firm4 ounces1111.7
Lima beans, cooked1 cup105.7
Quinoa, cooked1 cup93.5
Tofu, regular4 ounces910.6
Bagel1 med.
(3 oz)
Peas, cooked1 cup96.4
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked1/2 cup88.4
Peanut butter2 Tbsp84.3
Veggie dog1 link813.3
Spaghetti, cooked1 cup83.7
Almonds1/4 cup83.7
Soy milk, commercial, plain1 cup77.0
Soy yogurt, plain6 ounces64.0
Bulgur, cooked1 cup63.7
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup63.3
Whole wheat bread2 slices53.9
Cashews1/4 cup52.7
Almond butter2 Tbsp52.4
Brown rice, cooked1 cup52.1
Spinach, cooked1 cup513.0
Broccoli, cooked1 cup46.8
Potato1 med.
(6 oz)
Sources: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005 and manufacturers' information.
The recommendation for protein for adult males vegans is around 56-70 grams per day; for adult female vegans it is around 46-58 grams per day (see text).

I'm not here to convert you, I'm just here to help you least take it into consideration, at least once or twice a week. My grandparents have gone vegetarian after decades of eating meat because their doctor recommended it for health reasons, and they've loved it! My boyfriend has also sworn to never eat bacon again, thanks to me! :)

It's only a week and a half into the new year, so you still have time to make lifestyle changes! If you don't want to take meat out of your diet entirely, at least open your mind to it! Your mind can be in the past, present, or future, but your body remains in the present!

Below are just a few of my favorite dishes I tried and truly enjoyed!

"Meet someone new, learn something new, then do something new!" - Anonymous

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